Why does Georgiana marry Howard in "A Wagner Matinee"?

In "A Wagner Matinee" by Willa Cather, Georgiana meets Howard while she is on vacation in the Green Mountains. He is nine years younger than she is, but he is attracted to her, probably because she is from the wide world of the city. She appreciates the attention of a younger man. The two develop an "inexplicable infatuation" for one another and elope against the advice of Georgiana's family and friends.

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In Willa Cather's short story "A Wagner Matinee," the narrator's Aunt Georgiana was once a music teacher at the famous Boston Conservatory. One summer, though, she met Howard Carpenter during a trip to the Green Mountains. Howard was younger by about nine years, for he was twenty-one and Georgiana already thirty. Georgiana was thrilled by his attention, for he had taken a fancy to her that she couldn't understand. She wasn't particularly pretty, but perhaps the fact that she came from Boston, from the big city with all its excitement, was enough to attract a country boy like Howard.

Georgiana returned to Boston after her vacation, but Howard followed her. The narrator admits that he cannot understand the "inexplicable infatuation" between them. Again, it may have been as simple as Howard's attraction to a city woman and Georgiana's attraction to a younger man (as "idle and shiftless" as Howard tended to be). Georgiana's family and friends tried to talk some sense into her, but acting on "absurd and extravagant passions," she eloped with Howard and went to Nebraska with him, leaving behind her music, her life in the city, and her loved ones.

Georgiana likely lived to regret her decision to marry Howard and settle on the Nebraska prairie. Her life since has been difficult, the narrator relates. She is now bent and weathered from years of work. Yet, as her nephew discovers, she has never lost her love for music. She does not want to leave the concert hall when the orchestra finishes, for she has regained a little of what she once had, and she longs to hold on to the moment.

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